New artist draws on past experiences

New artist draws on past experiences

New artist draws on past experiences
Natalie Gamble hosts art shows at her Concord home – even depicting an event in her artwork. (John Nakanishi photo)

John NakanishiCONCORD, CA (Sept. 18, 2023) — As a child growing up in Southern California, Natalie Gamble was surrounded by the arts and a family of makers and fixers.

Her mother and grandmother were seamstresses. Both parents were avid gardeners. An uncle could make anything out of metal and wood, and her grandfather was a mechanic.

Besides crayons, Gamble always had access to extra fabric, sewing needles and thread, as well as scraps of wood and woodworking tools. What she heard from her creative family members while growing up was, “Oh, I like that. I can make that.” Those words have inspired her throughout her life.

In elementary school, Gamble began thinking outside the box, thanks to her art teacher who had the class paint a picture without using brushes. “Ms. Segal gave me the gift of artistic freedom. She helped me see that the limits to my art and my life existed only in my mind,” recalls Gamble.

In middle school, she learned about collage and multimedia art – two art disciplines that are still part of her art to this day. But it wasn’t until July 2022 that Gamble discovered painting, after visiting her cousin’s art studio in Los Angeles. She saw her cousin’s brushes and canvases and decided that she could do that, too. Back home, she made her first brush-on-canvas painting and developed a love for acrylic painting.

New Year’s resolution

Things really began to change in 2023. It started Jan. 1, when Gamble made a New Year’s resolution to paint every day – even if only for 10 minutes. Then she lost her job, and she also had to have ankle surgery. Bad as that may sound, Gamble feels it was a blessing because she suddenly had loads of time to develop her artwork.

Gamble is a self-taught artist with no formal art training. She goes to galleries and museums. She loves getting up close to paintings to try to figure out the artists’ techniques. And she likes using artistic detective work to figure things out, like a puzzle.

Gamble continues to experiment with new techniques.

She is always experimenting with new tools and techniques. She recently made collages out of paint peelings, using the bits of dried acrylic paint from her palette.

“The paint peelings are this very whimsical, ridiculous side of me,” says Gamble. “It’s all humor.”

When she began painting, Gamble found inspiration from her own photos. She sought to capture the feeling of the moment on canvas but felt that something was missing. She read the book “Women in the Picture” by art historian Catherine McCormack, about how Western culture has developed the way women are viewed historically. It gave her a new perspective and a motivation for her artwork going forward.

“I felt real rage,” says Gamble. “We haven’t even been able to tell our own story.”

One satisfying project from that realization are her three paintings of interiors that were decorated entirely by women for women. Gamble feels that her art is “moving toward spaces where women rest, heal, grow and simply exist away from the male gaze.”


Gamble draws inspiration from all her life experiences.

“I feel a convergence of all I’ve learned, like multiple rivers dumping into a reservoir, but the dam is breaking and my story is pouring out in artistic expression.”

She doesn’t know how all this will manifest itself into her artwork, but she sounds excited to find out.

Gamble is currently displaying work at the Concord Public Library and the Side Gate Brewery & Beer Garden in Concord. She plans to have four pieces at the Concord Art Association’s gallery show at the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Art Gallery in San Ramon this November and a table at the Concord Historical Society’s Holiday Market. She also regularly hosts open house and art shows at her house in Concord.

For more about Gamble and her artwork:

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John Nakanishi
John Nakanishi

John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.